Anupriya Goenka is one face we all have seen, just that we never knew who she was or where she came from. Despite being part of innumerable advertisements and many films (Bobby Jasoos, Dishoom and Daddy), it took Anupriya some time to grab that one role – Poorna in Tiger Zinda Hai. She was the brave-heart nurse who gave a strong support to Tiger aka Salman Khan and his team during their fight against Abu Usman. Now that the film is roaring at the box office, Anupriya has come out as a tigress too. So, can we say Anupriya has finally arrived? “(laughs) That might sound very narcissist. You can definitely say Anupriya’s hardwork has paid off so far, it is looking good. That’s it!” the actor said during an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com.
Also read | Salman Khan is a beautiful human being: Tiger Zinda Hai villain Sajjad Delafrooz
Tiger Zinda Hai had the highest opening weekend of all time in Bollywood. The Christmas release was definitely a festive gift for the audience. But despite the film hard-selling on Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif’s reuniting, Anupriya managed to find her way and make a mark. Ask her about all the praise coming her way and she tells us, “It is obviously very overwhelming, it’s a lot to take but at the same time it’s really exciting. I had gone to Chandan theater (in Mumbai) for its screening on second day and I wasn’t expecting anyone to notice me, but it was beautiful how people surrounded me, asked for pictures and acknowledged and appreciated my work.”
Anupriya plays the main nurse among the group of 40 girls who are held hostages by a terrorist organisation in Tiger Zinda Hai. Her character of Poorna helps Indian spy agent Tiger nab the main villain and rescue all the nurses. “Those two months of shooting in Abu Dhabi were very tough. It was such an intense character, I was always in that zone, thinking about terror. There were times when it gets into you, you start imagining death. I remember for my bomb scene where there is a bomb strapped on me, I was preparing for it for two days and by the end of it I started getting these nightmares that I am dying and I won’t be able to see my family tomorrow. It does get difficult at times,” she recalled her on-shoot memories.
Anupriya was a corporate girl until she began doing theatre. This dusky beauty soon left her job to take up acting full time. She was first noticed when she did a bold ad for a clothing line themed around same sex love. Her unconventional rustic looks got her into several TVCs, a TV show and even some Telugu films. She shot for the Bharat Nirman campaign with Pradeep Sarkar and later did Nagesh Kukunoor’s yet-to-release film Maya. After doing small roles in handful Hindi movies, she auditioned for the main lead in director Ali Abbas Zafar’s previous film Sultan too. However, that didn’t work out, but it helped her bag Tiger Zinda Hai.
Also read | Tiger Zinda Hai actor Paresh Pahuja on Salman Khan’s memorable hug and why he loved playing ‘Azaan’
Ask Anupriya of working with Salman, and she happily shares, “I have learned so much. When you see him in person, you realise why he is called ‘Bhai’, why there is so much of love and affection for him. He has this presence, this aura, this sort of a divine personality and he is very giving as a human being, extremely supportive to newcomers specially. He would guide us, he would tell us what to do and he would make us comfortable. Sometimes when people give you suggestions they are kind of making you nervous, you wonder whether you are doing something wrong. But when Salman gives you suggestions, it just ups your energy level, your enthusiasm and encourages you. And he has this whole body language that you can just go to him for anything and if there is anything going wrong, he will take care of it.”
The starlet will also be seen playing Shahid Kapoor aka Ratan Singh’s first wife Nagmati in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversy laden film Padmavati. We saw a glimpse of her character in the song “Ghoomar” which has Deepika Padukone in the title role. Anupriya tells us that she shot for Padmavati before TZH. However, the hatred around the film does trouble her. “It is very hurtful because it is not just your hard work, it is the entire team’s hard work, it is Sanjay sir’s hard work. We all hope and I’m sure once the movie comes out, it’ll be worth it. The same people who are having problems, will enjoy it and will be proud of it, I’m very sure of that. Sometimes, things just happen for a reason. Once it is out, it’ll do the whole country proud,” she said.
Check out some of the photos of Anupriya Goenka:
Now that Anupriya has become a face to reckon with, is she getting meatier roles? “People always appreciated my integrity towards work. But, now when they see it on such a big scale, there is a different kind of vision that they give you which is amazing. There have been some beautiful scripts that have come my way. One or two amazing opportunities are coming up. And I hope they materialise and something beautiful comes out of it, and in 2018 we’ll be talking again about another beautiful story,” she signs off hinting at some bigger projects in her kitty!
Here’s wishing Anupriya Goenka, all the best!